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New to smoking

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Okay, here's the deal. I have a 1 year old lp smoker. I have used it a total of 3 times. It's a nice smoker, I just don't know enough about smoking. I tried ribs right off.... did the whole apple juice thing, with apple wood.. BAD results. The ribs were tender, but had no taste or texture. Then, I did a couple of meatloaves.... BINGO !!!! They were awesome.
That leads me to today. I smoked a rack of ribs and 2 meatloaves. I just used a dry rub for the ribs, and a regular meatloaf recipe for the loaves. Everything turned out great !!!!

My question is..... I started my smoker, after soaking my hickory chips 1-1 1/2 hrs. I waited about 1/2 hr, until it warmed up real good and was really smokey smelling. I smoked my ribs and meatloaves about 4 1/2 hrs..... and by my thermometer, they were done.. real tender... and GOOD !!!! THEN...... I turned off my heat, and went into the house. In about 1/2 hr., my smoker had some awesome smoke that lasted an hour or so !!! Did I put my meat on too soon ?????? Should I wait for this really thick smoke, or was I right in putting my meat on after it smelled smokey ????
I'm confused now. I know that you don't want to smoke too long, but did I wait long enough for the best smoke?? I had some smoke and even temps, but no nearly as much smoke as later... after I took all the meat off !!!!
post #2 of 12
I am staying on subject with this question, trust me; did you pull the membrane off of the ribs for all the smokes? This will change taste and the outcome.

Also did all of the mentioned ribs have the same rub, cooking temp, etc?

Any prep, smoking or cooking times will affect the ribs. Just some thoughts..... even shanging thermometers to your smoker can change your final product.
post #3 of 12
Welcome to SMF. Are you using the stock smoker thermometer? Try not soaking the chips they have to dry before they can start to smoke. Try using some chunks instead of chips or some of both and see what you think. You do not want thick white billowing smoke what your after is thin blue smoke or no smoke and just the smell of smoke.
post #4 of 12
Welcome friend. You're getting good info from the previous posters so don't give up.
post #5 of 12
Welcome to the forum. One of the best things you can do is sign up for Jeff's 5 day e-course in smoking.
post #6 of 12
Welcome to SMF. Glad you joined us. You came to the right place for answers. smile.gif
post #7 of 12
Welcome and enjoy the forum. What everyone else has already said. Keep at it you will be producing great smokes in no time.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sorry for the delay. Yes, I pulled off the membrane for all of the smokes. Come to think of it, the first time I smoked ribs, I did the 3-2-1 method. WAAAAAAy too much apple juice. They were tender, meat falling off everywhere, but had absolutely no texture and too strong of an apple flavor. This time, I just went with a basic rub, and they turned out fine.... a little too done, but fine nonetheless. My question is on the smoke. I let the smoker warm up real good, until I could see some smoke and it started smelling very smokey. Not as much visual smoke as much as smelling smoke. When you open the door, the smoke burns your eyes !!!! Then, when I was done and turned my burner off, I got some really heavy smoke. I soaked my chips before smoking. Every website says to do this. So, is that right ??? Don't get me wrong, my ribs and meatloaf turned out good, I was just wondering if I was using the right smoke. Thanks, MIKE
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Also, on the smoker temp.... I was using the thermometer on the door. For the meat temp, I have a digital temp. fork.
post #10 of 12
Smoking your chips is really a matter of personal preference. I used to smoke my chips all the time but since joining this group of addicts I have stopped smoke starts faster. And like piney said thin blue smoke is what you are after. Get another digital therm and stick it through a chunk of wood or a potatoe this will give you more accurate temps at your grill level.

Never give up smoke is your friend
post #11 of 12
I never soak my chunks. I also prefer chunks over chips since they smoke slower and much longer. Try both in your smoker to see what works best.

I would NOT trust the door thermometer. Get one for your smoker temp and one (or more for lots of food) for meat temps. Get the ones with probes on wires so they can just stay in your meat and you won't have to open the smoker and then wait for the fork thermometer to register. I only open to spritz or rotate if needed. Remember......if your lookin' then you ain't cookin'!!! After you buy some thermometers test them in boiling water. Remember that water boils at 212* F at sea level (100* C). Just get a pot of water boiling and then insert your probe....not touching the pot, just the water....and it should register 212*.

Does your smoker have a water pan? In my early smoking experience I had my water pan run dry. Then the drippings fall into it and I got LOTS of billowing white smoke which was just the drippings burning in the empty pan. NOT GOOD.

Keep at it and you will do fine. Like all life experiences....you learn much more from your failures than your successes.
post #12 of 12
Sounds like you have gotten some pretty solid advice so far, aim for the Thin Blue Smoke and you will be fine

Welcome to the family, you will find lots of knowledgeable folks willing to help in here, just remember the only stupid question is the one you didn't ask

Good Luck and Happy Smokes
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